While Swiss watchmakers have played up age-old traditions to hawk their mechanical watches, the Japanese have in the last decade focused more on cutting edge methods of timekeeping. From atomic (radio controlled) to satellite timekeeping, Japanese brands have explored alternatives to the more conservative mechanical and quartz timekeeping.
Satellite timekeeping, in particular, has been embraced by all three major Japanese watch brands – Citizen, Seiko, and Casio. Citizen stole a march on its competitors when it announced that the Eco-Drive Satellite Wave GPS range requires as little as three to receive a GPS signal from orbiting satellites.
The Eco-Drive Watch Satellite Wave GPS (Ref. CC7014-82E) we have here is a tough-as-nails pilot’s watch that boasts a range of functions. The watch has an imposing 46.6 mm case made from Citizen’s proprietary Super Titanium and is 18.5 mm thick. Water resistant to 200 meters, it is fitted with a unidirectional rotating slide rule bezel and a sapphire crystal and a closed caseback.
Citizen was the first brand to produce an entire watch case out of titanium when it debuted the Citizen X8 Chronometer in 1970. This was no ordinary titanium – the Super Titanium that Citizen debuted was a patented alloy that was superior to the regular version. It is believed that it was the metal’s adoption in NASA’s Apollo mission in the 1960s that inspired the Japanese to work with this material that was lighter, stronger, and with better hypoallergenic properties than steel.
And now thanks to its Duractect technology - Citizen’s proprietary surface-hardening treatment – the brand is able to produce titanium five times harder and 40 per cent lighter than stainless steel. The case has a real sense of quality to it, the notched bezel and crown are in blue-black IP titanium. The inner slide rule bezel can be operated by using a crown placed at 7 o’ clock. The top side of the bezel is decorated with the code symbols of the Ground-Air Visual Code for Use by Survivors, meaning that any incoming signals can be checked by simple reference to the wrist. The watch is paired with a three-link bracelet that is also made from the same Super Titanium. Being a pilot’s watch, the case is also anti-magnetic to ensure accurate timekeeping.
The design of the dial is distinctive and uncompromising. Inspired by the look of cockpit instruments and heads-up displays, the 5-layer dial imparts sculptural depth and a note of creativity to the watch as a whole. The use of yellow and Super-Luminova on the hands and indexes of the dial guarantees a high level of legibility. As mentioned earlier, the dial displays world time in 40 cities; it also has a Perpetual Calendar, a chronograph, an alarm function, a light-level indicator, and a power reserve indicator among others. A second time zone is indicated via a sub-dial at 6 o’ clock while a Mode indicator and Function indicator are placed at 3 and 9 respectively.
As those familiar with Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology are well aware, the watch’s movement is powered by light; on a full charge, this watch should not need recharging for five years. This watch is powered by Caliber F990, which has an average accuracy of ±5 seconds per month under normal operating conditions. The watch is priced at AED 12,489.